By Hannah Mallorca
Features Writer, The Philippine STAR
As coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) cases soar, industries scramble to cushion the impact of the pandemic. Strategies include the implementation of work-from-home (WFH) arrangements.
To know how companies thrive amid the pandemic, The Philippine STAR’s CareerGuide section discussed ways on how to manage working relationships, adjust into the WFH lifestyle, and move forward to a post-COVID-19 society.
The Facebook live discussion billed CG Live! featured PhilSTAR Media Group EVP Lucien Dy Tioco, HGS Philippines head of corporate communications Jocel De Guzman, and Stores Specialists, Inc. marketing and communications head Mitch Hernandez-Suarez.
Working as a team
The WFH setup goes beyond the traditional working relationship between the employer and employees. Currently, face-to-face meetings and consultations have moved into video meetings, email exchanges and online organization networks. This is where teamwork in various industries is put to the test.
Ms. Suarez emphasized that despite working from home, teams should maintain a good relationship with one another to work effectively.
“Since we’re working in a skeletal arrangement, it’s important that (teams) need constant and open communication to see how things are working — if it’s effective or not — and to check on each other,” she added.
Mr. De Guzman echoed Ms. Suarez’s statement, emphasizing that companies need its employees to continue. “You have to take care of your employees first. Business continuity means that if anything happens, you can still run the business,” he said.
Adapting to the WFH lifestyle
Working remotely has advantages such as operating on a flexible schedule, getting more work done and being more independent. However, it entails a lot of adjustments for companies.
As a mother, Ms. Suarez explains to her kids that even if she’s at home, she is still working. “I think families need to be oriented about the WFH arrangement. It’s not just an adjustment for the company or employee, it’s also an adjustment for the families that they live with,” she expressed.
Meanwhile, Mr. Dy Tioco shared that the pandemic is a wake-up call for companies to adapt to changes and be ready, should diseases or disasters happen again.
Is WFH the future?
Various industries are greatly affected by the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), including business process outsourcing (BPO), which plays a vital role in the local economy.
Mr. De Guzman stated that working from home is the future of BPO. The government and telecommunication companies, however, should invest more in infrastructure and address the internet gap.
According to mobile network research firm OpenSignal, Philippines ranks 74th out of 77 countries in terms of 4G speed.
Retail also significantly contributes to the economy, covering 15% of the country’s total gross national product.
Shopping has been a huge part of modern Filipino culture. While online shopping boosts the retail industry, Suarez said it works hand in hand with on-ground stores to provide quality service to customers.
For Mr. Dy Tioco, the pandemic has helped companies understand the significance of digital transformation. “WFH is making us realize that certain things are possible because there’s technology to rely on. But reliability is, in itself, an issue and our country has to step up on our infrastructure,” he expressed.
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